- In the Beginning there was a Hall. First Library 1898 Lasted 60 years.
- Founders of Chermside Library 1898
- Then the Hall became the School of Arts in 1909
- The Expansion of the Building
- The Chairman's Handbook
- Then there was Socialising in the Hall.
- Then a New Library Replaced the old Hall. 21-3-1958 Lasted 39 years.
- Then another new Library was built on a new site.17-1-1997 Lasted 19 years.
- Then a Social Dimension was added to the Library. 13-3-2004
- Fourth Library 2017. How long will it last?
In the Beginning there was a Hall. First Library 1898 Lasted 60 years.
The first library may have been in the old Alliance Hall from 1898 when the Downfall Creek Recreation Club and Library was formed on 12th October that year.
Unfortunately we know very little about the Club since the only references we have are the minutes of the first few meetings held in the Hall.
Thus we cannot be sure whether the library was formed or not. But the men who met that night were pioneers who had a strong work ethic and usually did what they set out to do. It was a time when, if you wanted many things done in the local community then you had to do them yourself.
Founders of Chermside Library 1898
This priceless scrap of paper is a testament to the spirit of the early settlers in the hamlet of Downfall Creek. In the great tradition of "If you want something done then get busy and do it yourself" they signed up. They were hard workers, just look at the occupations, but they found time make the hamlet a better place.
They were were pioneers and they had a dream which they put into practice and they succeeded as the dream became reality and continues 118 years later when the fourth library will rise from a the depths of the earth. Two basements and three floors,
Congratulations gentlemen you did well. And don't forget the women, wives and daughters, who voluntarily staffed the early libraries
Then the Hall became the School of Arts in 1909
In 1903 the name of the small village of Downfall Creek was changed to Chermside after that of the Governor of the time. In 1909 the Chermside School of Arts was formed and the Committee bought the Alliance Hall changing its name to the Chermside School of Arts.
The new owners immediately set about forming a library or possibly taking over the library that already existed in the building.
We have a great deal of information about this library because all changes are recorded in the Minute Books of the School of Arts. Fortunately these books still exist in the keeping of Mrs Jean Tune whose father, Samuel Harris, was the secretary for 22 years.
The Expansion of the Building
The library served the community from 1909 till it the School of Arts was wound up and the assets handed over to the Brisbane City Council on 9th September 1952.
It was a lending library in which the members paid a small fee for borrowed books. There was also a reading room with a constant supply of newspapers and magazines as well as a small reference section. When the Council took over the library had a stock of 3,000 books.
The Council kept the library functioning in the hall which then became know as the Municipal Library Hall. This continued until the new library was built in 1958 even when the old hall was shifted back to make room for the new building.
The Chairman's Handbook
This may be the only surviving book from the old School of Arts, Chermside Library. A sticker attached to the book makes it clear where it belongs. At present it is the CDHS Inc. library which is in the Archives Room.
The book was published in 1917 and may have been acquired around that time. It would not be classified as light reading for enjoyment but rather for "Diffusion of knowledge."
The book measures 17 cm long x 11.5 cm wide and 13 mm thick. The author was Sir Reginald F. D. Palgrave, K. C. B. the late clerk of the House of Commons.
Then there was Socialising in the Hall.
The Hall was also the community centre of the village, and later the suburb, till the Community Hall was built at Kedron-Wavell Social Club in about 1980.
It was used by every local community group in the district. The Scouts, Red Cross, Progress Associations, School Concerts, Farewells and Welcome Homes for servicemen in two World Wars, Church Services, Wedding Receptions, Dances, Fund Raising, Magic Lantern Shows, Silent Pictures till the Dawn Theatre opened in 1929, the Penny Savings Bank, Continuation Classes in Bookkeeping and Dress Making and many more functions.
Then a New Library Replaced the old Hall. 21-3-1958 Lasted 39 years.
At the Annual Meeting of the Chermside School of Arts in 1944 Sam Harris, Secretary, said that he was "looking forward to the day when the Library would be in a building of its own." On Thursday night 20th March 1958 his dream was realized when the new 300 square metre library complex, built on the site of the old School of Arts and costing 13,000 pounds ($288, 800 in 2004 values), was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman T R Groom.
The new library contained 11,000 books of which 4,000 were for children; the old Library held only about 1,000 which demonstrated the ability of the larger Brisbane City Council to provide improved services over the older and smaller School of Arts.
The library was operated with a professional staff of trained librarians with help from some of the old volunteers of the School of Arts days. It reflected the changes that were taking place in society as Chermside grew from a rural village to a suburb of a modern city. Education was changing and the libraries had to change with it.
Then another new Library was built on a new site.17-1-1997 Lasted 19 years.
Costing $2.7 million the new library, on the Corner of Kittyhawk Drive & Hamilton Rd was opened by Lord Mayor Jim Soorley on Friday 17/1/1997.
The building itself covers approximately 1,500 square metres, the size of a 50 perch block of land, and five times bigger than the old library.
As of 2006 the library holds 85,000 items of which 80,000 are books in the reference and lending sections, the remaining 5,000 items are Audio Visual, Multi Media, Compact Disks, Video tapes, Digital Video Disks, Audio Disks. The latest addition is the facility which allows members to download books from the BCC Library computers into their personal MP3 players.
The Chermside Library, the biggest in Brisbane, is a Hub library in that it is the control centre for 9 smaller libraries in the North East Region of the City of Brisbane.
The library is managed through a network of computers in all departments and connected to the internet and email system. Within the library is a further system of 44 public access monitors consisting of 34 for general use, 2 for research, all of which are connected to the internet, 2 dedicated word processors and 6 for catalogue or index use.
The library is connected to the BCC city wide library system which ranks as one of the three largest city libraries systems in the world. It encompasses 32 suburban libraries and 1 mobile library with a total of some 1 million items all, or most of which, can be ordered by members from home via the ElibCat website and collected at the Chermside library.
The highly trained, specialist library staff, consists of 22 part time and full time women and men, led by a Hub Team Leader who supervises all the connected libraries in the North East Region. The Librarians, have bachelor or higher degrees, the Library Technicians are Para professional doing technical work and the Library Assistants are trained on the job, some having been teachers or librarians. The staff, which is overwhelmingly female, contrasts strongly with the 1898 and 1909 situations when women did not rate a mention in the administration; they could only be members.
Technologically, the 21st Century Chermside Library contrasts strongly the two earlier ones, in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, on the corner of Hall and Gympie. While each was or is, a product of its time and technology, each served the demands of its time and each changed with time but all adhere to the same basic ideals as set out by the Downfall Creek Recreational Club and Library of 1898; some things change but…….
Then a Social Dimension was added to the Library. 13-3-2004
This addition of two fully equipped meeting rooms, a small kitchenette, a coffee shop, an open veranda dining area and library extension, costing $2 million, was officially opened on Saturday 20/3/2004 by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Tim Quinn - an addition of 500 square metres which brings the total library area up to 2,000 square metres; the Coffee Shop is leased to Kedron-Wavell Services Club which works closely with the Library.
The addition of the Hub finally equipped the modern library with proper meeting hall facilities which disappeared when the old Chermside School of Arts was demolished in about 1980. As there are over 150 community organisations active in the Chermside district, the need for a moot centre was obvious, and urgent; progress, it seems, comes in fits and starts.
In June 2005 the Brisbane City Council payment centre was opened in the library with several assistants to accept payment of most services provided by the BCC.
So the story, begun in 1898 continues, and the dream of the founders lives on. What will our dreaming find after the next 110 years?
Fourth Library 2017. How long will it last?
The Third library was demolished towards the end of 2015 and the site cleared . Digging the site for the two parking basements proceeded followed by building during the whole of 2016 and almost up till the opening in March 2017.
This corner view of the 4th Library shows Kittyhawk Drive on the left and Hamilton Road on the right. The library occupies the ground floor and the BCC Northside Business Centre the two floors above.
There are two entrances, one from the two underground parking levels and the other from the the Hamilton Road side. See below.
Proceeding along Hamilton Road, the long street entrance takes up much of the building.
A closer view of the street entrance shows the open inviting entrance to the Library off Hamilton Road. Will there be any roadside parking?
East View Detail of the Canopy leading to the entrance.
East Entrance from car park joins up with the main street entrance on the Hamilton Road / South side. People parking in this car park climb the steps and turn left to walk around to the main entrance.
East View of entire building.
East View from the surface car park which the Library shares with the Aquatic centre. The roofed entrance is hidden behind the trees. The high rise apartments show up in the background.
This is the working side of the Library where the deliveries are made. It faces a rather blank back wall of the Kedron Wavell Services Club. It is also an entrance / Exit from the open car park.
The western side fronts Kittyhawk Drive and faces the high rise apartment buildings that have almost completely replaced the line of houses which faced Playfield Street and backed on to Kittyhawk Drive.